Do As I Say, Not As I Do

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Grapefruit Upside Down Cake RecipeI believe strongly in the power of intuition.  After all, Oprah drilled this into our heads for years, didn’t she?  99.999999999% of the time, our intuition is correct.  We just need to learn to trust it.  I knew in my gut that this cake wasn’t going to work the way I hoped it would.  My intuition proved right – as per usual.  Square pegs cannot be forced into round holes.  A grapefruit is not a lemon.  Let me explain where I went wrong and why this cake was both a failure – and a success.
Grapefruit Upside Down Cake RecipeGrapefruit Upside Down Cake RecipeEach winter I look forward to the arrival of Oro Blanco grapefruits.  Years back, my father-in-law, also known as Farmers Market Man, turned me onto this sweet and juicy citrus.  I had never before tasted a grapefruit that didn’t make my face distort when eaten without lots of sugar sprinkled on top.  I became a very happy convert.

A few weeks ago, I spied at the market the first OBs of the season.  I brought home a truckload (a large bag), and have eaten one nearly every day since.  The way I approach eating an Oro Blanco is far from the civilized approach where one cuts the grapefruit in half, and delicately spoons out the available fruit, segment by segment with a serrated spoon.  No, I take no chance at missing out on even a speck of its precious pulp.  Standing over the kitchen sink, first I peel it, and then one segment at a time, I pop the fruit from its casing and into my mouth.  Like I said, I stash my manners while consuming my Oro Blancos.
Grapefruit Upside Down Cake RecipeMy passion for Oro Blancos got me thinking of a way I could incorporate them into something delicious from the oven.  Pie initially came to mind.  There are many versions of lemon pies that use the whole fruit.  Why not just sub in the Oro Blancos for lemons.  Lacking the tartness of a lemon, I had a concern about their flavor standing up against other ingredients.  I would need to use them in their whole form if I wanted to preserve their integrity.  Then I came across an upside down lemon cake recipe that used very thin slices of whole lemons.  Perfect.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that the bitter skin that separates the segments would mellow during the baking process.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  I gave it a go.

As you can see from the pictures, the cake turned out beautifully.  But looks can be deceiving.  I quickly snapped a few photos of the uncut cake, sliced it and took a bite.  The cake was soft and delicate; the brown sugar glaze was sweet on my tongue.  Then the familiar flavor of my precious Oro Blanco met up with my taste buds.  Yum.  No, no, wait….D*mn!  Yuk!  Bitterness.  Baking the grapefruit hadn’t done it any great favors at all.

After engaging in a debate with my intuition, I threw the cake into the trash, but not before snapping a few more pics and drowning my sorrows in a big chunk of cake – sans grapefruit – which is where this cake was a total and complete success.  The cake part of this recipe was fabulous.  I have every intention of finding other uses for it.  I plan on turning it into a layer cake, cupcakes, and anything else that calls for a basic yellow cake.  And, I will even try this recipe in its original form – with lemons.  I’ve decided to post the recipe here in case you want to do the same.
Grapefruit Upside Down Cake RecipeSo I say to you – make this cake.  Just don’t make it with grapefruit.



Source:  Adapted from Luscious Lemon Desserts by: Lori Longbotham

2 thoughts on “Do As I Say, Not As I Do

  1. I have never tried an Oro Blanco grapefruit! I guess I’m stuck on pink grapefruit but upon your recommendation I will search for them. I have noticed when cooking with grapefruit (and even when making marmalade) the white pith is plentiful and bitter. I very like the photo of the finished cake, it looks fantastic!

  2. Hey, to be better in the kitchen, you need to make mistakes, right?

    I would definitely want to make the lemon version!